Nothing Stays Buried (Monkeewrench #8), by P. J. Tracy

Eight stars

A different P.J. Tracy emerges in this piece, primarily because one of the duo has passed on, leaving the legacy on the shoulders of the younger. It was also the first ‘book’ in the series I read, the others having been of the audio variety. After the daughter of a farmer goes missing, the local sheriff calls in a favour from Monkeewrench to help piece this all together. Grace MacBride, well into her pregnancy, is happy to oblige and the team makes their way into rural Minnesota to assist. One interesting clue found close to the scene is blood traced back to a member of a Mexican drug cartel. Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Detective Leo Magozzi is pondering his recent move to the country and the fact that he will soon be a father. Alongside his partner, Gino Rolseth, they banter about anything that comes to mind, at least until a call comes in. It’s a body, slashed and dumped, but there’s also a playing card tucked inside the clothing. Could it be the killer that the MPD Homicide team has been hunting; a serial killer perhaps? When more bodies emerge, each with another playing card, Magozzi and Rolseth are baffled as to how they will solve this case. When the FBI sweeps in to take control of the case, both detectives are confused by the federal presence and unwilling to simply walk away. Meanwhile, Monkeewrench has been running some searches for Magozzi and found a few pieces of information that might tie-in to the case they have been working. Could the two be connected? With a story that moves from Minneapolis to a farming community, no one is safe with a killer on the loose and another one prowling the woods! Tracy, in whatever incarnation, is truly captivating in yet another novel and keeps the reader glued to the page well into the night. Recommended for series fans who love what they have read and are ready for a slightly different flavour in this piece.

I continue my summer reading binge of P.J. Tracy’s work, having been forced to pick up a book for the first time with this series. In their written form, the stories have not lost their momentum, even while I am forced to create accents and banter dialogue in my mind. This proves that Tracy’s work can transcend the audio medium and still come to life on the page. This novel is again able to mix great mystery with strong characters and deliver a knockout punch. The Magozzi/Rolseth banter remains strong and offsets some of the more gruesome aspects of the narrative. Of great interest in the realm of characters is how Magozzi and MacBride are each handling the pending parenthood that is surely just around the corner. Tracy offers the reader glimpses into both their psyches and permits some self-reflection on how things will change in the coming months (book or two?). I am eager to see this change in the next book, presuming there will be a birth before too long. The rest of the gang (both police and Monkeewrench) continue to dazzle and keep the reader on their toes for a variety of reasons. I was pleased to see a strong narrative and an interesting two-pronged story that neither dragged nor jumped without offering substantial progress. While P.J. Tracy commonly offers two cases, the reader is rarely left feeling unfulfilled during the gaze into the case’s progress. Using a constantly revolving group of characters, Tracy is able to push the narrative forward in interesting ways and never forces the reader to accept subpar writing or storytelling. These novels move away from the traditional police procedural and permit P.J. Tracy to entertain the reader with strong storylines, perfect for a vacation or summer binge. With one novel left (at this point) to read, I am beginning to face the reality that the binge is almost done, but I want more. Truly a sign of powerful writing!

Kudos, P.J. Tracy, for another wonderful piece. You have done your mother proud by keeping the story going. Write and think of her, always!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: